Interview Magazine has presented a really amazing conversation between Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci and one of his fashion heroes Donatella Versace. The 36-year-old Italian designer has rapidly become one of the most important designers of the moment, shocking many by taking over as head of Givenchy in 2005 and then heading the design of the menswear collection in 2008. In that time carving a Givenchy mindset that is “highly sexual, almost primal, but tough-as-nails and maybe just a twinge romantic.” Check out the insightful conversation below.
DONATELLA VERSACE: Let’s talk about your last collection, which I found to be very beautiful—super sexy. I would wear all of it.
RICCARDO TISCI: Brava! In fact, as I’ve been saying, it is very Donatella, because it is about a very strong woman. My inspiration comes from many sources, and one of those sources is precisely the maison Versace. You know, when I was a little boy, my family was not very well off. I had a sister who worked in a hairdressing salon. I lost my dad when I was 4 or 5 years old. I grew up with eight sisters and my mom. Nine incredible women all a little “à la Donatella Versace.” Real strong women from the South of Italy, women who had sensuality. They had a confidence in their body and in their sensuality. And it was a poor family, I am very proud to say it.
VERSACE: I find the idea of having eight sisters to be a veryjovial thing.
TISCI: Absolutely. And even if they didn’t have the financial possibilities of dressing themselves fashionably, they were women with an elegant style. The elegance of the South is a very strong elegance and it is one that I bring. It is a sexy elegance—or at least, let’s say less chaste. It was also the late ’70s and the ’80s, which was a certain moment of Versace—especially for me with a sister who worked at a hair salon and brought home fashionmagazines on Saturdays. Of course, Versace is, in my opinion, still the flag of Italy; it represents Italy. It meant the arrival of top models, of celebrities, Gianni, Donatella, all the things that made me dream. Those early visions make a big impression.
VERSACE: The early ’90s were an especially marvelous period for fashion, because it was the peak of glamour and there were no limits as to what you could do. But I see that you haven’t stopped pushing the boundaries, pushing forward. There is always some of that in your collections, which I very much admire. There is this passion for fashion and you’ve had so much success in Paris. You are one of the most talented designers there.
VERSACE: Has your initial passion diminished at all? Is it still the same as it always was? Or are you getting used to it?
TISCI: I have to be honest: My great strength, which I very much believe in, is family. For me, family doesn’t simply mean components of DNA. I mean family in the sense of siblings. My mom and my sisters are the energy and inspiration in my life. For me, fashion is a job. I love it. It’s my passion. But the most important thing for me in general is life. I was lucky. From the time I was a little, I was always surrounded by women, and I am very attracted to the feminine world, because I love the strength and romanticism, which in the end, you can find in my style.
Head over to Interview to read the full story.